We take a lot for granted. Advances that once seemed like life-changers are now staples. It’s hard for us to imagine but there was a first day with electricity, running water, and the Internet. Now these privileges are expected.

In the Christian’s life the same could be said of prayer. Prayer is not an unalienable right of all people, like voting in America when you turn 18. Instead, prayer is a blood-bought privilege for those who trust and treasure Jesus.

The possibility that I may be taking this for granted came to mind this week when I was reading First Peter in my devotions. Three times in a matter of verses the rugged Galilean fisherman turned preacher reminded me that my prayers can be hindered by my actions.

Here are the examples:

3:7 — Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

3:12 — For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

4:7 — 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Far from being a right to be taken for granted prayer is a privilege to be treasured. What’s more, believers should so value their privileged access to God in prayer that they continually inspect their lives for possible parasites of sin that are eating away at their spiritual vitality.

Among other reasons, this is because of prayer’s sweetness and power.

The sweetness of communion with God in prayer should never be assumed but actively treasured and protected. We are after all, speaking with our Father who adopted us, our Savior who bought us, and the Holy Spirit who seals and indwells us.

Likewise the unique power in prayer is such that we must diligently keep a close personal watch lest we find ourselves hindering this power and left to ourselves.

Listen to Peter urging us on to sanctification for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which that find ourselves fully availed to the privilege of prayer.

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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